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Wrongful termination claim filed against Highmark by previous CEO

All Texas employees should exercise good judgment before entering into a relationship with a co-worker to ensure that no policies are violated. Disregarding such policies could result in employees losing their jobs. However, if workers are fired even though they are adhering to company policies, they may feel that they are the victims of a wrongful termination.

The CEO and president of Highmark Inc. believes that he followed the insurance provider's policies, but he needlessly lost his job. The plaintiff was arrested for trespassing and assault charges after getting into a fight with the husband of another employee with whom he was involved. After the plaintiff went through anger management classes, the charges against him were dropped.

The plaintiff claims that he informed a board chairman of his relationship with the woman and was instructed to terminate her. Although she was not directly supervised by the plaintiff, he was her superior. The plaintiff contends that his relationship did not violate any company policies and that if he did fire her, it would be considered discrimination because their relationship was mutual. He was fired a week later.

A spokesperson for Highmark stated that the company had justification for firing the plaintiff, and his wrongful termination claim is without merit. Furthermore, the board chairman allegedly never told the plaintiff to have the woman fired. The plaintiff is seeking $6.5 million in damages, $25.8 million in pension and severance as well as legal fees in a common pleas court. All Texas workers should have a good understanding of all of the policies that are set forth by the company. Those who lose their jobs even though they have followed all of the outlined policies may consider pursuing legal actions.

Source:, "Former Highmark CEO files $32M wrongful termination lawsuit", Justine Coyne, Sept. 3, 2015

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